Monday, December 5, 2011

Junior forward Kevin Young opportunistic boarder

Kansas forward Kevin Young comes away with a rebound against Florida Atlantic during the first half on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Kevin Young comes away with a rebound against Florida Atlantic during the first half on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas University junior forward Kevin Young made the most of his five minutes of playing time in Saturday’s 70-42 rout of South Florida in Allen Fieldhouse.

The 6-foot-8, 195-pound transfer from Loyola Marymount grabbed six rebounds, while hitting two of four free throws and recording a steal during his short stint to conclude the game.

“It’s wanting to be around the ball. I just try to go and get every rebound I can,” Young said of his late board work. “I don’t really need to put up that many points. My teammates can handle that. I just want to get every opportunity to get the ball back in our hands.”

Young, who averaged 10.0 points and 6.2 rebounds a game in two years at Loyola Marymount, set the school’s freshman-rebounding record (7.2 per game) back in 2008-09. He followed that with 5.3 boards his sophomore season before sitting out last year while attending class at San Bernardino CC.

It should come as no surprise Young lists his favorite NBA players as current San Antonio Spurs big man Tim Duncan and former rebounding specialist/Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman.

“Before the games, I usually watch a couple of his highlights, to get me pumped up for the game,” Young said of Rodman. “My favorite part of the game is rebounding. He obviously mastered rebounding.”

Young has grabbed 23 rebounds while playing 43 total minutes heading into Tuesday’s 8 p.m. home game against Long Beach State. He has 22 points in six games. He did not play (coach’s decision) against Duke in Maui.

On what does he need to improve to land more minutes?

“My defense,” Young said. “I need to move my feet a little bit more, stop using my hands. I’ve got to play a lot harder in practice. I’ve just got to make everybody around me better every day.”

He has no complaints.

“Coach knows what he’s doing,” Young said of Bill Self. “If he decides it’s a game I’m not ready for, then it’s a game I’m not ready for. I don’t see that as a bad thing. I just go out the next day and try to get better.”

Of Young, Self said: “I think Kevin can do some good things. His strength is obviously a factor with him. He’s still thinking, not reacting. I think he can be more aggressive. I mean that in a positive way, having more a presence out there and getting his hands on balls, carrying out assignments, doing things we know he can do. When he starts doing those things, he’ll start scoring a little better, no question.”

Tuesday’s foe: Long Beach State (4-3) claimed a huge 86-76 victory at Pitt in the 49ers’ second game of the season. Long Beach State has also defeated Idaho (69-61), Boise State (72-62) and BYU Hawaii (79-43) at home and lost at San Diego State (77-73, OT), Montana (73-71) and Louisville (79-66). The 49ers return four starters off a 22-12 team that won the Big West Conference title with a 14-2 mark last season. Seniors Casper Ware (5-10) and Larry Anderson (6-5) were named to the preseason mid-major All-America team. Coach Dan Monson’s 49ers have a big week, playing at KU Tuesday and at North Carolina on Saturday.


jhox 9 years, 10 months ago

Young just needs to eat a lot more and hit the weigth room. Physical strength and weight are all that's holding him back.

johnsont1 9 years, 10 months ago

A common misconception, but physical strength and weight don't necessarily make you a better basketball player.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 10 months ago

Agree w/weight..yet to see an athlete suffer from greater strength.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 10 months ago

Anybody else notice that when Withey & Robinson are in the game together, Withey backs off TRob so he gets all the boards. When Kevin is in the game, he battles everybody, including TROB. I love seeing it.

lee3022 9 years, 10 months ago

It appeared that this was a minor factor in T-Rob not getting his double double last game. I say minor because Thomas was under the flu and in normal circumstances would have battled better.

Young is hungry and assertive with rebounding and that is excellent coming off the bench. Coach's comments indicate he can still earn minutes this year.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

"Footwork and Dante Self's Defensive Inferno"

Coach says it is too much thinking and a need for more aggressiveness on offense that keeps KY from scoring more.

All well and good, coach, but more minutes would help, too.

Sometimes what Self does not say matters most.

Self did not discuss KY's defense.

Sound defense is usually the Get-Out-of-Bench-Jail Free card that gets you the minutes to score.

So: I say the only thing standing between KY and big minutes is his defensive footwork.

Good footwork keeps you where you need to be on-ball and within the team defensive scheme.

It keeps you weighted and positioned, so that you can not only defend your man where he is, but where the team defensive scheme wants him to go.

Footwork enables the two kinds of team defensive strategies:

a) funnel action to the middle; or

b) funnel action to the baseline.

Funneling action to the middle means funneling it into help defenders and congestion and a region where the three second violation is a passive sixth defender. Its weakness is: breakdowns in help defense result in sudden open looks in the highest percentage shooting regions of the court.

Alternatively, funneling defenders to baseline uses the baseline as a sixth passive defender capable of trapping the ball in a low percentage shooting region of the court. This defense places less emphasis on help defense, because the ball is less often in the middle, where help is required. The weakness of this defense is that impact players comfortable shooting on the baseline can isolate defenders on the baseline and bringing help defense to baseline weakens the middle of the defense when the ball is kicked into their.

There are no free lunches as far as defensive schemes go.

Self Defense funnels action to the help and congestion of the middle. It requires you to position yourself to deny baseline and drop step and slide toward the paint.

This means you have to stay with your man as he moves toward the paint, or there is an instant numbers advantage for the offense and an instant high percentage look for your man.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Hence, a blow by in a funnel to the middle defense is a much more sudden and acute problem than when a blow by occurs while funneling your defender baseline. A blow by to baseline means there is a lane of attack to the rim, that a big can usually rotate to seal and do so effectively with the help of a double team with the passive sixth defender--the baseline. Further the sudden open look baseline tends to be a lower percentage shot the farther offender moves baseline (though some players become quite proficient shooters in this area).

So: in Self Defense, Kevin's got to have the footwork both to guard his man and to funnel his man into the paint without a blow by, i.e., to enable the team defensive.

On ball defense in this scheme is mostly about cheating baseline and then positioning your front foot to allow you to stab forward toward the corner to cut off a baseline move, while keeping yourself weighted so as to be able to drop step and slide toward the paint.

Lead foot placement at just the right angle for one's sliding abilities is critical and unforgiving. If you cut off the guy baseline, but get a blow by to the middle, you have wrecked the team defense.

If you position to ensure you can slide middle, but let the guy man blows by to baseline, your man is pretty much free to roam on the baseline for an uncontested shot in Self Defense, because your teammates are all cheating toward helping middle.

So players that allow blow-bys reside in the innermost ring of bench hell in Dante Self's Defensive Inferno, unless, by chance, they evidence angelic lightening quickness in recovery, as St.Tyshawn has done from the day he set foot on Mt. Oread.

Kevin Young, while mobile and wonderfully long, struggle with footwork, and seems to lack this lightening recovery quickness.

Hence, the 5 minute PT stints against mid majors.

More specifically, Kevin Young has so far, evidenced a tendency to revert to old defensive habits of positioning his lead foot to deny middle and slide baseline; this is tantamount to buying an E-Ticket to the inner ring of the wooden inferno--the bench.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

And out front, say 18 feet out and 4 feet right (or left) of the top of the key, when KY is chasing a high post, even when KY picks the correct front foot, his positioning of it is not optimal, and he is thinking so much about what he is doing that his man blows by him.

"All hope abandon, ye who enter here!" --DAlig

It is at this moment that Self's neck reaches egg frying temperature and he appears to begin muttering in fractured Eisenhower syntax "when is he gets it...why isn't light going on?? Justin in!!!!"

Justin's got the footwork in the post on 4s and 5s pretty much wired inside 25 feet so he plays, even though he grabs few boards and brings no post offense. Justin isn't perfect at footwork for certain, but he is blessed with much quicker recovery from boo-boos than KY.

Travis, though wild, has the footwork pretty wired at the 3. And Conner has made some big strides in this regard, plus he's got the gun.

So KY is kind of sealed off from PT at his two likely positions by his own footwork problems.

Still, KY gets glassvacs and glassvac are in effect vertical strips, and Self worships at the alter of any kind of stop.

For neat freak Protestants, cleanliness is next to godliness.

For Bill Self, stops are next to godliness.

So: KY's increasingly freakish ability to glassvac presently saves him from the inner most ring of Self's Defensive Inferno that his blow by susceptibility would otherwise condemn him to.

And KY's footwork choices will improve little by little.

And so he is a weapon waiting to happen, albeit in a ring very near the center of Self's inferno.

hawksince51 9 years, 10 months ago

While it would be great if Young could bulk up, at his age I doubt we will see anything dramatic. So, I like that he is able to use his narrow frame and quickness to his advantage in going after boards. He does need to improve his footwork on both D & O and I expect Manning to help him a lot with that. And, a little more scoring would also be nice. With our limited bench, we really do need this player to develop, and quickly.

James Kiernan 9 years, 10 months ago

Great energy, but needs to make the smart play. I can't remember many good things he has done (yet) but his attempt to steal the ball away from a Georgetown big (Porter?) flying by him, which resulted in an uncontested 3, still gives me nightmares.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 10 months ago

Let's see...40 minutes divided by 5 minutes = 8...8 x 6 = 48 rebounds

Holy Sabermatics, Batman.....Kevin would have set a new NCAA single game rebounding record if he had played all 40 minutes!!!

{ My guess is he didn't eat the poi in Hawaii!!]

REHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

BlownJay, you made a good point regarding Withey, T-Rob, Young rebounding. I got a chuckle Sat. out of a lategame situation when Young ripped a rebound out of T-Rob's waiting hands. 24 boards in 43 minutes is a very significant stat, although many of those were produced late in games when opponents are tired or in foul trouble. Kevin is a high energy player who bounds and races like a nine month old colt in a pasture of calmer thoroughbreds. I hope to see him nail down the footwork to earn his ticket to more playing time. Checking Big 12 stats, I notice that 3 Jayhawks are listed among the top ten league players in minutes played. Unusual for a BIll Self squad; chancy situation regarding possibility for injury. The more minutes our bench players can provide, the more energetic and healthy our starters will remain, of course. Yeah, I would like to see Jesse's +/- on all our bench guys, esp. Kevin.

REHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

I like everything Kevin Young says in this article. Mentally, it appears that he "gets it."

Joe Baker 9 years, 10 months ago

Young seems to be the only one with a nose for those mid range rebounds that usually catches KU standing around watching the other team snagging the ball. Young seems to find the right place at the right time which will be crucial in games. I don't see those rebounds when he's not in the game. He chases the ball down. He's the one after a failed KU attempted trey, jumps in front of the rebound almost everytime. He's the guy that seems to give KU much needed second chances for some pts.

If he finds his offense or his shot, he will be even bigger.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Truth be told, the last thing you want is two guys fighting for the same board.

TRob is such a certain get on boards near him, KY needs to realize it and release down the floor and get in position to score on the other end.

And TRob needs to do this, unless Self makes KY the primary glassvaccer and tells TRob to defer and release down court to score.

Efficiency applies to all aspects of basketball.

Efficient rebounding means never sending more guys for a carom than necessary.

Efficient rebounding means among those blocking out, the moment its clear one guy has it, the others release to score.

Efficiency means recognizing it may take several to create the stop, but it only takes one person to actually make the stop.

A rebound is stop. It is a vertical strip.

It may take three guys playing team defense to create the circumstance for one person to steal the ball from a dribbler, but the last thing you want is those other two guys competing with the guy about to make the strip. You want the guys not making the strip to release down floor to score.

Same with rebounding.

Good team rebounding is a bit different concept than good individual rebounding.

Good individual rebounding is just beat everyone to the ball including your own teammates.

Good team rebounding is everyone blocking out and the guy with the best chance for the ball beating everyone to the ball, while his teammate rebounders release down court to score.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate--you had posed the question in a prior post as to why Withey pulls down so few boards compared to KY on a per minute basis, right? You must have known the answer already!? Jeff must understand your team concept of rebounding, while KY may not??

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago


If you go back to Sasha Kaun, you see that Self sometimes tells a big just forget about rebounding and guard your man.

He appeared to tell Kaun to forget rebounding, because Kaun had no knee left, until surgery and rehab could be done after the season.

Withey may be being told to forget about rebounding, because he simply lacks the weight and strength in upper and lower body to take and hold a rebounding position, and keep defenders from stripping the ball from him.

Withey grabs any boards that come straight to him, but otherwise I get the impression he is instructed to work on shot alteration, defense, and let TRob work the glass.

It is quite possible that Justin and KY have instructions to actively pursue rebounds, to give TRob a break, and since they can't block shots.

Who does what depends on the abilities of who is out there.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 10 months ago

Only if they know who is in better position. This takes a micro second w/players used to working together. Rather see two than none.

Robert Murphy 9 years, 10 months ago

This reminds me of the nifty touchdown the Chiefs made on Sunday. The Bears needed a little coaching from Jaybate.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 10 months ago

All Good points JB,

But I'd rather have two guys going for the ball than one waiting for the other to get it. I know that's not what you meant and your "rebounding theory" is perfectly valid.

Having played basketball, however, I'm from the school of thought that, if you err, err to the aggressive. I will agree to respectfully disagree. :)

PS TRob would win most of the contested balls anyway, whomever is challenging him.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Always a pleasure to agree, or disagree, with my architect.

And it is TRob's strength that pressed me to weigh in.

You say to-may-to, I say, to-mah-to...

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Regarding Long Beach State, two words: Dan Monson.

Watch out!

He took Gonzaga to the level that it resides at now among basketball programs. He proved mid majors could play with and beat the majors.

The guy is so principled he resigned from Minnesota for not doing as well as he thought he should have done.

His father, Don Monson, was a respected coach at Idaho and Oregon.

And Dan hybridized his father's game with Gene Bartow's game, while a UAB assistant to Bartow.

Gene Bartow is one of the rare coaches that developed his own brand of ball. It was not far from Eddie Ball.

Dan Monson is a problem waiting to happen for this team.

Dan Monson didn't do too well at Minnesota, but who has lately without going all Clem Haskins. Tubby hasn't been able to do much better than Monson, and Monson had to recruit a bunch of years under recruiting restrictions caused by Clem's feeling that school was not part of college basketball.

Dan Monson can cause a lot of trouble at Long Beach State, the school that has given us Tark the Shark and Helmet Hair Olson.

A smart coach can get some bodies around LA and develop a good W&L statement.

Monson is a smart coach.

This will be a really good coaching match up.

I have always wanted to see Self Ball versus Bartow-Monson ball.

AsadZ 9 years, 10 months ago

Their 5-10 guard Casper seems to be very fast. He is leading their team in scoring and he is also in top 5 in their division. Our guards will have to play solid D and keep him in check. Looking forward to the game.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 10 months ago

I can't remember how long it's been since I've seen a Jayhawk team not play without thinking (Actually, it was 2008).

I'm not sure what's going on, if it's the plays, the system, the coach, speed of the game or what........................., but I sure would like to see guys like Relly, EJ, and KY play some ball without thinking.

No matter if it's a turnover or not, I sure would like to see somebody get in the paint and create for somebody else. Play instinctively, aggressive, and carefree! These turnovers 30 feet away from the basket and beyond the 3 point line are really getting on my nerves.

2 games down with one to go (LBSU) before Ohio State and I'm pretty concerned. I was expecting EJ to make significant strides, but all I've seen is him regressing and retreating from a great opportunity.

Also, if KY is going to be a valuable piece of this team then Self is going to have give him some meaningful minutes of some kind. The only way you can adjust to the speed of the game is to "Play".

IMO, trying to prove yourself to your coach in "Mop up" minutes isn't really ideal nor is it a confidence booster to the player.

IMO, Self needs to figure out a rotation and let the kids play and let them get accustomed to that role. Quit giving quotes to the media talking about his potential and then give the kid mop up minutes. It's either going to be 7, 8, or 9 person rotation, but figure it out. We all know it will probably end up being 6 or 7 come tourny time because that is what the trend has shown over the last 4 years.

AsadZ 9 years, 10 months ago

Shaw, Not to change the sunbject, I saw this article from April 2010. Looking back, it is very interesting to see how things played out for these top recruits.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 10 months ago

"Also, if KY is going to be a valuable piece of this team then Self is going to have give him some meaningful minutes of some kind. The only way you can adjust to the speed of the game is to "Play". "

"Self needs to figure out a rotation and let the kids play and let them get accustomed to that role"

kushaw .. I generally agree with your statements I quoted above.

On the adjusting to the speed of the game, I am a proponent of playing those who will or may be relied upon to get them up to speed. Get them used to the speed of competition, the pressure, etc. However, there is a threshold that a kid much reach in practice to get to that stage of important minutes. Perhaps in Self's mind KY has not reached that stage. I felt by Self's comments about the kid that he was. We see that one injury, or foul trouble, could create that necessity at any minute of KY being on the floor, maybe in the last 5 minutes vs. Ohio St., for example. Perhaps Self is discounting that risk, vs. where he wants KY to be before playing him important minutes. KY is not there defensively. We all know that. So perhaps that's an explanation. I'd like to see him in some important minutes (not necessarily "crunch time" minutes) for experience sake. Not getting any real time vs. South Florida was likely a reflection of where KY is in Self's mind, and Self guiding philosophy .. to win the game at hand, period. He mentioned that in why he sat EJ .. he said he was just trying to win the game.

On your second quote, maybe Self has figured out his rotation. And KY ain't part of it. That would be an 8 man rotation. KY in an emergency as #9. Top 5 guys as long as possible. Wesley to rest TRob/Withey. Teahan/Tharpe only as needed.

Nice post.

lee3022 9 years, 10 months ago

"IMO, trying to prove yourself to your coach in "Mop up" minutes isn't really ideal nor is it a confidence booster to the player."

Not to be argumentative. But coach says players 'prove' themselves in practice and not in games. If a player is told all year will be the same rotation what is the incentive to work hard and get better? Under his system the best players in practice play in games. I am assuming that this is not day to day but over time the best will show.

REHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

AsadZ, I read your April 2010 article. Interesting comment by Selby, that he did not see himself as a one and done player like Rose or Wall. The kid's frustration with his ineligibility and injury last season probably precipitated his decision to ditch further experiences with NCAA hoops. The entire situation left our coaching staff out on a limb regarding guard recruiting.

AsadZ 9 years, 10 months ago

REHawk, That's exactly what caught my attention. Furthermore, Jones and Lamb, two other players, projected as OAD in the article, actually stayed for their 2nd year. I guess nobody can predict and tell what is going on in players minds/lives.

I think Selby's leaving for NBA took a toll on HCBS, and it appears that he is not going hard at very high ranked players projected to be OADS. I mean he is still doing his best to get good/solid players but he is not going all the way to hit home runs like X and Selby. I got that impression on Kaleb's case as well.

tical523 9 years, 10 months ago

Energy guys bring more than just energy, they bring the most important intangible in sports. . . .THE WILL TO WIN. Finding a way to do absolutely anything to affect the game positively. Even if a guy gets burnt on D or over the back call while crashing the boards the other players feel that heart and desire. If our football team played with the will to win like Steven Johnson we would have won five or six games no doubt in my mind!!! The most important thing a coach can do is to get the team to play with a will and desire to win every play, x and o's are secondary. Good luck Kevin, I love what you bring to the team.

REHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

lee3022, your comments call to my mind a recent statement by Thomas Robinson, who said he didn't focus so much on freethrow shooting in past years, mostly because he would not be playing so much, and his shooting from the stripe would not have been that important. Obviously, when kids know they will be playing more minutes, they focus more intently on improving skills and patching up weaknesses.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

"Why Self Is Playing His Starters So Many Minutes and What It Portends for the Rest of the Bench"

Except for Tyshawn, none of the starters have ever started for season before. Except for TRob, none of the new starters has ever been asked to fulfill a very narrow role.

All of you guys wanting Self to give the subs quality minutes are forgetting one small thing.

Self has to give his starters the quality minutes to try to get them up to speed first.

The starters are not even able to play together smoothly yet and you guys want him to give quality minutes subs?

Everyone has got to take some deep breaths here, relax and remember that Self has got to build the house before he stocks it with some back-up, canned goods for a rainy day.

Self will play the starters big minutes for as longs it takes for them to learn to play as a team.

When might he start working his subs in for experience?

Likely the moment that the starters get it.

When might that be?

Common sense and a look at the schedule tells us that Self is prepping the starting five for an assault on Ohio State.

If the team comes together for that game, whether it wins, or loses, Self will start working the subs in for experience after that game.

If the team does not come together for Ohio State, then I would not be surprised if Self kept playing the starting five 30-35 mpg until conference play starts to make sure that the starters are a cohesive unit for the conference run.

Self will then try to season his subs against weak conference teams that comprise the Saturday/Monday games.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

The conference seems down this season. He probably could get away with seasoning subs against the lesser conference teams.

Clearly, Naadir has not come along as fast as Self hoped. Naadir can do the O, if he doest have to shoot treys, but he can't do the D. Period. You can be almost certain that he suffers as many blow bys in practice against Tyshawn and EJ, as he does in games, so quality minutes would be wasted on him right now.

Self figures with Tyshawn, he can let Naadir work in practice on his D and begin seasoning him with "quality" minutes in January and February, when he may at least have his defensive fundamentals down.

KY is more complicated. In an earlier post, I argued that what is really keeping KY off the floor are blow bys precipitated by bad footwork. It looks to me like he learned to play D in college in a scheme that forces guys baseline. But at KU, he must relearn and play a scheme that forces guys into the middle.

It looks like he is having a lot of trouble unlearning the old footwork.

But there may be another explanation, albeit more far fetched. KY actually has quite a bit more D1 experience than Justin, or Travis for that matter. KY's two possible positions are the 4 and 3. It is maybe possible that Self has decided that KY can cut it and that it is Justin and Travis that need the big minutes to get ready for the conference season. It could be that Self is sand bagging with KY. There is avery slim chance that Self could surprise Ohio State with a KY who can play considerably better than he has shown.

Whatever...Self seems to be approaching the problem about as rationally and sensibly as the circumstance permits.

hdotk 9 years, 10 months ago

Young looks like he could be a very good player, he has a lot of physical skills but he really looks lost out there most of the time. Doesn't look like a kid that's played a ton of organized ball.

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